The Supreme Court on Monday warned pro and anti Gorkhaland political parties against blocking National Highway 31A, the lifeline for Sikkim, saying they could face de-recognition.
“If anybody causes obstruction on the national highway, the party indulging in it would be de-recognised and their leaders will be arrested,” a bench headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan said.
The bench reminded the agitators of its July 2008 order to keep the highway, connecting Sikkim with rest of India, free from their agitation.
Free flow of traffic on the highway that passes through Siliguri, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Cooch Bihar in West Bengal was a must to ensure supply of goods to Sikkim, it said.
Sikkim government has moved the SC against frequent blockade of the highway and sought a direction to the West Bengal government to ensure smooth traffic and freight movement which had been badly hit in view of protests in recent months.
Sikkim’s plea came on a pending PIL filed by social worker O.P. Bhandari in 2005 raising a similar grievance pertaining to frequent closure of the highway connecting the state with the mainland.
On behalf of Bhandari, senior advocate P H Parekh said despite SC order there had been eight blockades of the national highway since the July 2008 order people in Sikkim cannot even get vegetables. “The blockade of NH 31A causes complete chaos,” he added.
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, Jan Jagran Manch (pro-Gorkhaland groups), Amra Bengal and Jan Chetna (anti-Gorkhaland) were allegedly obstructing movement of traffic on the highway.
But advocate Anupam Lal Das, appearing for GJM, denied the allegation and put the blame on the ruling party in Sikkim.
In his PIL, Bhandari had said strikes and bandhs in Darjeeling District brings normal life to halt affecting supplies not only to the people of the state but also to Defence Forces guarding the sensitive border with China, Nepal and Bhutan.